INVASION OF POLAND



Nazi troops strike hard and
fast
– Luftwaffe destroyed
Polish planes on the
ground, attacked tanks,
pounded defense
networks, and bombed
civilian targets
– Tank columns opened
holes in Polish defenses
and motorized units overran Polish army
– Blitzkreig
Soviet troops occupy
eastern Poland on
September 17
Poland surrenders on
September 27
“PHONY WAR”

September 1939-early
April 1940

No ground fighting
between two sides in
West
– Hitler waiting until
spring to unleash
blitzkrieg
– French and British
waiting behind
Maginot Line for
German attack
BLITZKRIEG IN THE WEST


Nazi forces hit Norway and
Denmark in early April
– Reasons were primarily
economic
Results
– Both countries easily
conquered
– German victory discredits
Chamberlain and he is
replaced by Winston
Churchill
– Norwegian merchant fleet
escapes to GB and
dramatically increases Allied
shipping strength
HOLLAND, BELGIUM, AND
LUXEMBOURG


Nazis attack Holland
– City of Rotterdam
bombed
Belgium attacked next
– French forces rush
into Belgium to
prevent Nazi
breakthrough
– Nazi tank divisions
avoid French and
move through
Ardennes forest and
into France
FALL OF FRANCE I

German troops rocket across
northern France, cutting
French troops in Belgium from
those in France

French and British forces
driven to Dunkirk where the
Nazis planned to bottle them
up and destroy them

Hitler orders Luftwaffe to
bomb Dunkirk into dust
– Fog and rain hinder air
attack
– Allies evacuate across
English Channel
FALL OF FRANCE II

French government asks for an
armistice
– Signed June 22, 1940

Why did France lose?
– French officer corps did not
understand use of aviation
in modern warfare
– French officer corps had not
mastered the psychology
and technology of motorized
warfare
– Loss of will among French
people
VICHY

Germany occupied northern
France and Atlantic coast

French military demobilized

Retired Marshall Henri
Petain heads French
government in southern
France
– Capital at Vichy
– Collaborated with
Germans

General Charles De Gaulle
escapes to London and
organizes Free French forces
BATTLE OF BRITAIN
August 1940—Luftwaffe
begins massive attacks on
British air and naval
installations
 Royal Air Force (RAF) fights
Luftwaffe on daily basis in
skies over England
 Due to high losses and failed
objectives, Hitler postpones
invasion of Britain “until
further notice” in September
1940
– Reasons?
 British development of
radar
 Skill and courage of RAF
 German difficulties in
replacing downed
planes

THE “BLITZ”

Luftwaffe begins daily
bombing of cities,
industrial centers, and
ports in order to
destroy British morale

Despite heavy losses,
British morale and
determination to fight
never broke
OPERATION BARBAROSSA
In July 1940, Hitler instructs
his generals to prepare for
invasion of Soviet Union
– Sets May 15, 1941 for
start of invasion
 Italian army flounders in
Greece in October 1940
– Hitler forced to send Nazi
troops there to help in
April 1941
– Forces Hitler to delay
invasion of Soviet Union
until June 1941
 Barbarossa finally starts on
June 22, 1941
– Massive invasion force
 4 million men, 3300
tanks, and 5000 planes

THE INVASION


German ground forces move
rapidly into Russia
– 2.5 million Soviet soldiers
killed, wounded, or
captured and 14,000
tanks destroyed in 3
months
Stalin refuses to surrender
– German army begins to
run low on fuel and
suffers from poor
transportation
– Russian conditions do not
favor blitzkrieg tactics
BATTLE OF MOSCOW
December 1941
 Bitterly cold
conditions
– Frostbite
– Lack of
antifreeze
 Germans advance
to within 20 miles
of city but are
stopped by Soviet
counterattack

SEIGE OF LENINGRAD

Germans surround
Leningrad by September
1941
– Constant bombardment

People of city suffer from
famine, disease, and shelling
– One million die as a result

City never surrendered to
Germans